Kaçanik/Kačanik, a municipality in southeast corner of Kosovo, is considered one of the oldest regions with an ancient history and with a rich cultural and natural heritage. Despite the fact, not many activities or projects were conducted in order to protect and promote these values. Moreover, the youngsters of this municipality are poorly informed about the existence of cultural and natural heritage assets in their municipality and in Kosovo in general. During the period September 2013 – February 2014, the Local Youth Action Council (LYAC) of Kaçanik has implemented the project “Let’s recognize our cultural heritage”. Beneficiary groups of the project were more than 300 youngsters, including volunteers from various formal and informal groups such as, Kaçanik’s Young Environmentalists, Young Painters, Young Musicians and high school students. The first activity of the project was to clean the KaçanikCastle by youngsters. The event was very well received by the local community and was seen as a symbolic action indicating the importance of a clean environment in cultural heritage monuments. Moreover, involved participants, under the supervision of professionals took pictures of cultural and natural heritage sites in the city and in the villages of the municipality. During the project, participants had the opportunity to visit many places with natural and cultural values inside the municipality Kaçanik and outside, like in Prizren. Zana Lika, a member of the Young Environmentalists group and participating in these visits, said that she was very happy and impressed that she has been part of these visits. “I am very happy that I was part of these visits in cultural and natural heritage sites. What makes these events even more special is the fact that even though I live in Kaçanik, I heard and saw in a closer focus for the first time sites of cultural and natural heritage. These visits have charmed me with its beauty and made me proud of my country. I would recommend such an experience for anyone in my country”. A special visit to the cultural heritage sites was also organized for the members of the NGO Hendikos . In the framework of the project, the youngsters organized a debate on cultural and natural heritage. Panelists of the debate were the mayor of Kaçanik and his executive staff. In addition to youngsters, local citizens participated in the debate, expressing their concern about the maintenance of cultural monuments. The youngsters also asked the municipality to show more interest to the protection of cultural and natural monuments. Moreover, during the debate a catalog of cultural heritage compiled by youngsters of Kaçanik was promoted. The catalog consists of illustrations, pictures and a brief historical text for the monuments. This catalog was very well received by the general public, and as well as from the municipality, considering this catalog as the first promotional document printed for the heritage of the municipality. This catalog, in the future will also serve as a tool to promote tourism but also raise awareness for all citizens Kaçanik. The final activity of the project was a photo exhibition held on the sixth anniversary of Kosovo’s independence. The exhibition contained pictures with motifs of cultural and natural heritage that were made during the field visits. The project “Let’s recognize our cultural heritage” is one of the priorities of the Local Cultural Heritage Plan of Kaçanik. This priority was identified in the framework of the Local Cultural Heritage Plans Programme 2012-2015 compiled by CHwB, Kaçanik municipality and other central level institutions. To download the catalog produced by the youngsters of Kaçanik (in Albanian) click here. For more information about the Local Cultural Heritage Plans Programme 2012-2015 click here.
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